Ten Years After

Chapter 3

Dawn’s research training meant that she was looking at the situation methodically, even though the puzzle was herself, and after some time amongst the records again she had written careful notes, which she discussed with Giles next afternoon.

The Watchers’ records showed that ‘The Key’ had been around for a very long time. They always spoke of ‘The Key’ – never of ‘A Key’, and the way it had been guarded over the years showed it was a very major magic item.

The monks had been so under threat that they had safeguarded The Key by placing it in human form in the family of the person most likely, in the whole world, to be able to protect it; again showing that they were desperate to prevent such a powerful thing falling into the wrong hands.

If The Key was so important, surely they must have thought about what would happen to it when Dawn became old and died – the energy source would either die with her, after all they had done for so long, or it would float around unguarded – again not in keeping with the job they had done all those years.

Dawn was showing none of the normal signs of ageing you would expect between the ages of twenty and twenty-seven – she thought this herself, and electronic comparisons of photos and vid-files found by Andrew confirmed that apart from her hairstyle she had changed not one iota since her twentieth birthday.

Giles had eventually agreed that Dawn could be right. If she remained at her physical peak, and did not age, The Key was not going to disappear within 70 - 80 years of its conversion into ‘Dawn’. This could be a conscious act on behalf of the monks, or it could be a direct result of putting The Key into human form – the magic itself might be so powerful that it preserved ‘the vessel’ in every possible way.

Except that it must be possible to injure or even kill her – note previously broken arm, and Glory trying to kill her to open the portal. Considered purely as a theoretical problem, they had come to the conclusion that this could be because the monks had not been able to put every possible safeguard into place. There was no definite proof that she could be killed, as no-one had yet achieved it, but it was likely that she could be, at least in certain circumstances; and so the term ‘Highlander Syndrome’ which Dawn had come up with herself might well be apt.

Giles had said that it would be quite possible for the scientific Watcher staff to carry out tests, probably at cellular level, to confirm or disprove this self-diagnosis. At first Dawn resisted the idea – feeling, like her monastic creators, that the fewer people who knew anything out of the ordinary about her the better, but by the end of the day had agreed to blood tests and a small tissue biopsy.

That night Dawn went home alone, having not really been able to do the research she had really had her mind set on – it would have to wait another day.

In her dreams that night she was still running past people, and could never stay to talk to them, and still she saw glimpses of platinum and black, always running with her, never getting left behind.


***


“Andrew, I need your help”, Dawn said as she walked into the office, full of computers and electronic ‘toys’, just off the Main Library. “I could go do this research myself, or ask a librarian – but I know that you will know exactly where to look for what I want.”

Andrew raised one eyebrow, a move Dawn thought he probably had copied from Giles because he thought it made him look knowing, or inscrutable, or whatever, and said “Me – I’m flattered!”

“Good!” answered Dawn, “As flattery is supposed to get me everywhere! Now, what I want to know is where is Spike?”

This was obviously not quite what Andrew had expected, and he looked somewhat taken aback. “Spike? Why do you need to know? Why do you think I’d know?” he asked.

“Yes, Spike, and I need to know where he is because I want to talk to him. And I expect you to know where I’ll find him because hey, this is the main archive of information held by The Watchers’ Council,” Dawn waved at the computers and the shelves outside the door, piled high with books, discs and even a few scrolls. “And you know I’ve always been led to believe that we keep as much information as possible on Master Vampires – and Spike, William the Bloody, whoever, is a Master Vampire. Not just any old Master Vampire, but one of only two we know of with A Soul. Note my use of capital letters here, Andrew! And I expect you personally to know where this information is stored because one, you are the Senior Recorder; two, you were Spike’s Number One Fan not so many years ago; and three, you are downright nosy! Now make with the information, or I will invite you over for a meal and watch you squirm as you try to be polite and eat haggis!”

“With neeps!” she added, as Andrew hesitated.

“All right, all right, you got me!” he answered, and within minutes had pulled up a file on the screen in front of him.

The Slayers and their Watchers had been primed to avoid staking Spike and the records showed that over the last few years he had crossed the paths of three Slayers – saving the life of at least one of them. The last report was from a Watcher in Brussels about ten months previously. Not quite a dead end – but almost as bad – Dawn thought, as he was not all that likely to still be there.

Andrew, now anxious to be as helpful as possible, pointed out that there were also a couple of references to Angel passing on information about Spike over the years, when The Council, or individual Watchers or Slayers, had been in touch with him – it looked as if Spike kept in touch, at least to some extent, with his sire.

“So do we have a file on Angel? Have we any information on how to get in touch with him?” Dawn asked, to be told that Angel’s phone number was on file, as was the e-mail address for his firm, would those do?

“Why didn’t I know that The Council keeps in touch with Angel?” she demanded of Andrew.

“Well, you’ve been involved with more complicated research for Giles,” Andrew answered, “he knows we can ring Angel up any time, he probably just didn’t ever need you to do it for him because it’s simple enough for him to do it himself.”

‘Probably,’ thought Dawn, ‘Giles thought that the less he reminded me about anything Sunnydale related the better – he probably thought if I wasn’t asking I wasn’t ready to know.’ But Andrew knowing so much more than her was a bit annoying!

Reading files, and having blanks filled by Andrew from his own knowledge, Dawn discovered that Angel was still in L.A., still running Angel Investigations, and still, according to Andrew, being a Good Guy who helped the Little People who had hassle from the Big Bad Guys. Only that the Really Big Bad Guys, the top ones at Wolfram and Hart, had been in some way banished from this dimension at the time of the Great Battle in L.A. (Andrew could still capitalise verbally better than anyone else Dawn knew!). Oh, and Angel had a female partner – a werewolf (!) – and a son who worked in the business!

Dawn left Andrew’s office not knowing whether she most wanted to hug him for being helpful, or, more likely, throw things at him for never having filled her in on all the Angel related gossip before – how could he have known all that and not told her? He was much better at this Watcher business than you would have thought when it came to only answering what he was asked, and opening up on other stuff purely on a need-to-know basis, only why hadn’t he decided that Dawn might at least want to know! Stupid Andrew! Well actually amazingly well disciplined Andrew, she corrected herself – a real credit to The Council she supposed.

She had invited him to dinner anyway – and promised that there would be no haggis, or neeps!


***


  • Chapter 4

  • The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.